The Big Central Competition, the first regional round for the U.S. Coffee Championships, took place this past weekend, with Josh Wisman of Colectivo Coffee Roasters (formerly Alterra) and Tyler Rovenstine of Oddly Correct taking top spots in the barista competition, and Lorenzo Perkins of Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co. and George Burnett of Intelligentsia taking top spots in the Brewers Cup.
The Big Central event, which will be followed in January by the Big Eastern and in February by the Big Western, reflects the new “Big” format for the U.S. championships put forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild of America (the groups also unveiled their flashy new U.S. Coffee Championships website last week). Other popular U.S. Coffee Championship programs — including the Roasters Choice Awards, Coffee of the Year and the new Latte Art Championship — do not have regional rounds.
Taking place in Minneapolis, the Big Central event featured some of the top coffee talent from coffee bars and roasteries throughout a huge swath of the center of the country, from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Texas. Here are your finalists from the Barista Competition and Brewers Cup events, all of whom will go on to compete in the U.S. Championships in Seattle at the SCAA Event in April. The two winning baristas will be joining Minneapolis-based green coffee importer and Big Central Event host Cafe Imports on its annual origin trip, next year in Ecuador.
North Central Barista Competition Finalists
1st place Josh Wisman of Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee, WI
2nd place Brenna Kail of Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago, IL
3rd place Josh Taves of Dogwood Coffee Co., Minneapolis, MN
4th place Talya Strader of Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, Chicago, IL
5th place Sam Brown of Stone Creek Coffee, Milwaukee, WI
6th place Andrew Grassmick of Madcap Coffee, Grand Rapids, MI
South Central Barista Competition Finalists
1st place Tyler Rovenstine of Oddly Correct, Kansas City, MO
2nd place David Fasman of Kaldis Coffee, St. Louis, MO
3rd place Patrick Burns of Palace Coffee, Canyon, TX
4th place Mike Marquard of Blueprint Coffee, St. Louis, MO
5th place David Buehner of Blacksmith Coffee, Houston, TX
6th place Nora Brady of Bluerprint Coffee, St. Louis, MO
South Central Brewers Cup Finalists
1st place Lorenzo Perkins of Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co., Austin, TX
2nd place Anthony Auger of Kaldis Coffee Roasting Co., St. Louis, MO
3rd place Kevin Reddy of Blueprint Coffee, St. Louis, MO
4th place Andrew McCaslin of Palace Coffee, Canyon, TX
5th place Robert Reagan of Palace Coffee, Canyon, TX
6th place Dean Kallivrousis of Parisi Coffee, Kansas City, MO
North Central Brewers Cup Finalists
1st place George Burnett of Intelligentsia, Chicago, IL
2nd place Trevor Gruehn of Kickapoo Coffee, Viroqua, WI
3rd place Zach Althaus of Goshen Coffee, Edwardsville, IL
4th place John Mook of Passion House Coffee Roasters, Chicago, IL
5th place Derek Craig of Anthology Coffee, Detroit, MI
6th place Daniel Bosman, Mars Cafe, DesMoines, IA
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher (at) dailycoffeenews.com, or see the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.